Using a video poker strategy will help you make better decisions while playing the game. We can’t guarantee that a strategy will help you win each time you play, but it can certainly help reduce the house edge.
Random number generators are used to determine the outcomes of video poker games. As it is a game of chance, there is no way you can predict whether you will win even after your cards have been dealt. But you can use a few tricks to improve your odds slightly, which we will explain below.
Winning Video Poker Strategy
- Play Video Poker Online
- How to Win at Video Poker
- How Video Poker Strategy Charts Work
- Optimal Video Poker Strategy – Bankroll Management
As mentioned above, video poker is a game of chance. So, there isn’t all that much you can do to alter your odds. Unlike blackjack and regular poker, there aren’t any deduction strategies you can use in this electronic game.
However, that doesn’t mean there are no ways to improve your odds, even if only slightly. Here are some video poker strategies to help you increase your chance of winning, even if marginally:
Learn How the Variation Works
While this really goes without saying, it seems many people underestimate the advantages of knowing how a game works. Quite simply, there are many variations of poker. Most are deviations of either Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild, but each unique game has its own rules.
If you don’t know what these rules are, you open up yourself to making stupid mistakes. For instance, you could throw away a wild card and not even be aware of it.
You should never play a game for real money; you don’t understand how to play. You may as well burn your money instead.
Choose a Game with a Pay Table You’re Comfortable With
Some video poker variations are easier to win than others. As a result, some games pay out more than others. Before you select a game, take all these factors into account.
If your sole aim is to win as many games as possible, you may want to choose games featuring a wild card. However, if you aim to win bigger sums of cash with each hand, you should look at playing a game like Jacks or Better.
Use Basic Strategy
Basic Strategy is something many gamblers associated with blackjack. But there is also a video poker basic strategy. Basically, you shouldn’t be playing each hand by guessing. Statistically, certain outcomes are more likely to happen in certain situations.
Basic strategy gives you moves to follow through on in every possible situation in a video poker game. This takes the guesswork out of it and is more likely to lead to more favorable outcomes for you.
As mentioned above, there are different variants of video poker. As such, each variant also has its own unique basic strategy. We suggest you become familiar with a system in free online video poker machines before playing real money games. This will allow you to ingrain these rules in your gameplay in a risk-free environment.
Stick to Winning Hands
If you are familiar with poker hands, you will be aware that a pair is the lowest possible combination and the Royal Flush is the highest. In a regular game of poker, you aim to have the best possible hands to beat other players.
But in video poker, games payout if you make any combination. The stronger the hand combination, the greater the payout. A standard pair offers a 1/1 payout, but a Royal Flush as much as a 250/1 payout.
Many video poker players are beguiled by the big numbers and make the mistake of throwing away a weaker hand in the hopes of getting something better. However, by doing so, you are throwing away winning opportunities.
A hand such as a three-of-a-kind could payout triple what you bet. But by throwing away these cards in the hope you hit a royal flush almost guarantees you will win nothing.
Concentrate on the Game
Again, this may seem like stupid advice, but many players actually don’t realize how much taking the time to consider your hand actually affects the outcome. Yes, you should be playing with Basic Strategy. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking at the cards you have and drawing some deductions.
Instead of playing 50 hands at a time, rather focus on one. Yes, you won’t earn as much in a single round, but you won’t make bad decisions due to being overwhelmed by how many hands you need to consider.
As mentioned above, a video poker basic strategy chart can be used to decipher moves for every situation. There are tons of strategy tables on the internet. There is a strategy chart for every video poker variation, which suggests moves based on the variation rules.
A strategy chart for a non-wild game will be very different from that of a game containing wild cards. The reasoning is simple. Games with wild cards give you extra opportunities to win because a group of cards can finish winning combinations.
Generally, a strategy chart will have a list of hands. Similar to a payout table, at the top of the list will be the best hand. Work down the list to find the hand that matches yours. When you find the hand, keep the cards listed on the chart and discard those not listed.
Here is an example of what a video poker strategy chart looks like. Remember that these are game-specific tables. (For example, a pair of jacks would be the lowest paying hand in Jacks or Better.)
|HAND||CARD TO KEEP||CARDS TO DISCARD|
|4 of a Kind||5||0|
|4 to a Royal Flush||4||1|
|Three of a Kind||3||2|
|4 to a Straight Flush||4||1|
|Three to a Royal Flush||3||3|
|4 to a Flush||4||1|
|Three to a Straight Flush||3||2|
|Two to a Royal Flush||2||3|
|Two High Cards||2||3|
While the example strategy chart lacks some details, the chart should generally show you the optimal way of playing each hand. The table above shows you how many cards to drop depending on which hand you have.
To make the most of the chart, understanding how video poker hands work is crucial. Like blackjack, playing using a video poker strategy can make a difference to your win/loss ratio. (However, we wouldn’t say that you have as much control over the outcome as you do in blackjack.)
How you manage your bankroll can also affect whether you walk away from a gaming session with winnings. There are two important areas when it comes to using your funds wisely in a gambling game: bet size and bankroll management.
Bet Max (If You Can)
With every gambling game, the bigger your bet, the more you win. So, you’ll see a lot of game guides recommend you bet max to win the most money possible.
We think you should do it, but only if you can afford it. Ideally, you should pick machines that fit within your bet range so that you can bet max. Sometimes, this is impossible, so you need to pick a machine with an affordable starting bet.
However, with the range of video poker games available online, you shouldn’t have an issue finding a game that fits within your bankroll.
Proper money management is important when you play any online casino game. Betting more than you can afford in video poker games could see you calling it a night sooner than you expected. For example, if you have a bankroll of $100, you shouldn’t be playing games that have a $50 minimum bet.
While video poker games generally have a high return-to-player percentage, you should never count on winning a hand. In fact, we think you should view every bet with an expected return of 0 before you see the result. This way, you can truly see whether you are fine with losing the money you have staked.